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Career Development

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Who were the biggest earners in 2015? Data from the latest 2015 ChemCensus has revealed the best compensated work specialties for chemists. Among full-time workers the highest earners were in the field of medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry, which narrowly beat chemical engineering. Other big earners were biotechnologists, polymer chemists, and clinical chemists.



By comparison, chemical educators were among the lowest paid full-time workers, followed closely by those in general chemistry, nanochemistry, biochemistry, and environmental chemistry.




How does your salary stack up in your field? Check out the recently updated ACS Salary Calculator™ to see how your salary compares to your peers.

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“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Work shouldn’t just be a means of paying the bills.  For your own sense of self-satisfaction you should wake up excited to get to work. Did you know that recent chemistry graduates who find their work challenging actually make more money?


Data from the 2014 Survey of New Graduates reveals a direct correlation between being challenged professionally and being compensated well. Full-time workers who strongly disagreed that they were being challenged at their work only made $28k a year.

By contrast, graduates who strongly agreed that they were being challenged at work made $51k!  That’s almost twice as much.


So get out there and make your skills count and don’t settle for mediocrity.  To find out exactly how much money your skills should be making for you, try out the ACS Salary Calculator It has been newly updated and adjusted for inflation to 2015!

iStock_000060522706_Small.jpgGenerally, when we graduate we are filled with a sense of relief. We feel like the classroom portion of our learning is done and we move on to gaining practical experience in our field. Sometimes it doesn’t occur to us just how important it is to continue our education. The world around us is constantly evolving and changing and this makes it incredibly important that we stay on top of industry trends, technology changes, and best practices.


The Muse.com recently published an article entitled An Easy Way to Make Sure You Never Stagnate in Your Career. This article, written by Caris Therford, outlines five different ways your can thrive in your career by continuing your education and professional development. You can thrive by learning, by building relationships, staying abreast of important changes, staying aware of opportunities, and by building your skills. Head on over to The Muse.com read more.


As you endeavor to keep your career from stagnating be sure to consider a course from ACS Professional Education. ACS Professional Education offers an extensive catalog of in-person, online and OnDemand short courses to enable you to stay on top of new trends and evolving technology in the chemical field. Visit our website at proed.acs.org to browse our course catalog and find a course that meets your needs.

The ACS Career Fair is right around the corner, is your résumé in tip top shape? Check out this infographic from CollegeAtlas.org to make sure yours is good to go. Once you have perfected your résumé head over to C&EN Jobs to create a jobseeker profile so you can get a FREE professional headshot at the Career Fair!



Often times our career trajectories aren’t clear. We fight for our entry level position and work hard to climb the corporate ladder. But what if we looked at our path more like a jungle gym than a ladder? In a recent article, 9 Inspiring Women Leaders in Tech Share Career Advice Everyone Needs to Hear from Mic.com, this topic is explored by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg:


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Do you need help navigating your jungle gym? The ACS Career Navigator™ has a number of resources to help guide you. Choose from our number of Professional Education courses, Leadership Development workshops, Career Pathways workshops, personal Career Consultants, Market Intelligence reports, and much more to help you gain a competitive edge in your career.

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Membership in the American Chemical Society grants you access to a number of great programs and services to help you advance your career. One of these programs is the ACS Career Consultant program. This personalized program gives you access to a consultant to help guide you through job searching, career transitions, resume writing, and more.


Below is a story by ACS Career Consultant Lisa Balbes about a recent interaction with an ACS member:

I am a volunteer career consultant for ACS. That means I help other ACS members with their career issues by reviewing resumes, practicing interviews, and helping them talk through issues and figure out what they want to do, and how to do it.  Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of people, some on multiple job searches over many years. 


Recently, I was working with a career chemist.  On a Friday, he was offered a great position, at a salary close to what he was currently making.  He told the hiring manager that while he was very excited about the job, he had been hoping to get an increase in salary.  The hiring manager told him to think about the offer over the weekend, and that they would talk again on Monday.  The candidate decided to do some research, so used the ACS Salary Calculator to find the salary range for similar positions – which turned out to start about $30K higher than what he was being offered. He shared that data with the company, who came back and offered him the higher salary almost immediately and asked when he could start.  He is thrilled with his new job, and both sides feel like they were treated fairly.


Check out our Career Navigator Spotlight video to learn more about the ACS Career Consultant Program!





For more information on the ACS Salary Calculator™ and all of the other great resources we have to offer head to the ACS Career Navigator™ page!


Looking to advance your career? Without risk there is no reward!


“Seize the responsibility for your own career advancement. Don't waste valuable time hoping for the best, or waiting for your company to notice that you're doing high-quality work and shower you with riches and promotions. Chart a career path, and make your management your partners in working to advance your career.”

                - Taunee Besson, CMF, CareerCast.com Senior Columnist


Did you know that the ACS Career Navigator™ has the tools to help you chart your career path? Take an ACS Career Pathways™ workshop to help determine which career path is right for you!


What is innovation? According to Merriam-Webster, innovation is defined as “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.” But how exactly does one jump start the innovation process? It is a simple enough concept to grasp, but in practice can be difficult to execute. The article 4 Ways to Be More Innovative at Work , from The Muse.com, delves into how you can take budget, time, and resource constraints and make them work in your quest for innovation. They also outline the following four ways to integrate innovation in your day-to-day work experience.

  1. Turn “Can’t” Into “Can If”
    When you find yourself at a roadblock while brainstorming instead of saying “we can’t because. . .” try starting the thought with “we can if. . .” By coming at it with a positive and proactive point of view you are more able to find a solution, rather than shutting one down.
  2. Access Your Assets
    We live in a day and age where shared economy is becoming more common place. As a result of this it is important to think of what assets you can access, rather than what assets you own. Look for partners that have the distribution, audience, or resources that you can utilize. This will open up a world of opportunity.
  3. Ask Impossible Questions
    In the context of innovation, the impossible questions can be of more use than the hard question. The impossible questions charge creativity and drive the brainstorm into problem solving mode.
  4. Put Constraints on Yourself
    Put constraints on yourself, deliberately limit your time, budget, or resources, in order to be creative. The less time, money, or people you have to work one something the more creative you have to be to get the desired result!

For more on these ways to be more innovative, head over to The Muse to read the full article. If you are still looking for more ways to be innovative our Fostering Innovation course, part of the ACS Leadership Development® System, is up your alley! Are you headed to the 250th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Boston, MA? Make sure to add Fostering Innovation to your schedule!

Courtney Arzu

Making Cents

Posted by Courtney Arzu Jul 2, 2015

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The chemical industry is huge.  Each year over 3 trillion dollars in chemicals are shipped worldwide, and the market is growing every year.  To put that in perspective, the GDP of the entire United States in 2014 was 17 trillion dollars.  So for new graduates looking into joining the non-academic workforce, where is the best pay? How do they get their fair share?


Findings from the latest 2014 ACS survey of new graduates show that the top paying employers in the United States are companies that deal in petroleum/natural gas, specialty/fine chemicals, and electronics/computers/semiconductors.   Even with the recent price fluctuations for petroleum products, those employers rise to the top and offer the best starting salaries. 

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For more information about the job market for new graduates in chemistry, read our latest C&EN article or read the full-report. For great career resources no matter where you are in you carer make sure to visit the ACS Career Navigator, your competitive advantage.


They say that you know the future is happening when you start feeling scared.  Getting a degree is usually just the first step in a long journey.   There is a paradox in having that much freedom… it becomes paralyzing.  If every opportunity is open to you it can simultaneously feel like there are none.  It’s the same thinking that tells you that there’s nothing to watch on television even if you have over a thousand channels.  Many newly minted chemists choose to go on to higher education or a postdoc and to defer this freedom until later, but at some point almost everyone will join the workforce. 


A new bachelor in chemistry has spent at least 16 years focused on their education.  If they choose to continue they often go on to spend as much as 23 years of their life studying.  So how long does it typically take after starting the job search to find work? More than two-thirds of graduates who find work do so after only three months job hunting.  Additionally, more than 9 in 10 graduates who find work do so in six months or less. 


Six months may seem like a very long time, but it’s actually to the benefit of the job seeker.  Data from the “ACS Survey of New Graduates in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Related Fields” shows that longer job searches are correlated with higher salaries.  This may seem counter-intuitive but it actually makes some sense.  Job seekers who spend more time exploring their options tend to hold out for higher salaries and better positions.  It may actually hurt your long term earning potential to accept the first offer that comes your way.  If you’re looking to find out just how much salary you can hold out for the ACS Salary Calculator is a fantastic member benefit that can predict your value in today’s complex marketplace. 


Of course not everyone has the luxury of holding out for the dream job.  With bills to pay, student debt, and the high cost of living something is of better than nothing.  The ACS has career resources for those looking for employment.  At our national meetings we have a career fair, resume review, mock interviews, and more. To learn more visit the ACS Career Navigator.


What are some traits that come to mind when you think of an entrepreneur? Passion, tenacity, extroversion? But what about those passionate, tenacious introverts? Are they forever doomed to work only for other people and never be able to branch out on their own? Medium.com recently featured an article “The Age of the Introvert Entrepreneur” by Gary Vaynerchuk, sets out to disprove this assumption.


It was once the case that if you starting up a new organization and weren’t an extrovert you would have to bring someone on board who could handle your affairs at the various networking events and conferences that were necessary to attend in order to get a new business off the ground. Due to advancements in technology, it is now possible to build a company, talk to people, and make connections in the business world without having to leave your desk. Gone are the days of forced face-to-face networking, now your persona can be determined by building a strong online presence.

Vaynerchuk discusses the importance of being yourself, it will aid you more in success than trying to force yourself to be more extroverted than you actually are. Want to learn more about entrepreneurship?  The ACS Career Navigator offers two Career Pathways WorkshopsTM to guide you on your way to starting your own business, Working for Yourself and Soup to Nuts of Entrepreneurship. Visit the ACS Career Pathways WorkshopsTM page to learn more about how to kick start the next step in your career!

ACS is coming to Binghamton University to present workshops to help STEM students of all fields with career planning and development. 


Register to attend the ACS Career Pathways Finding Your Path workshop on June 9th from 12:30-4:30 pm and the Planning Your Career Development workshop on June 10th from 9:00-11:00 am.

Both workshops will be held in the Academic A room G007.  Lunch will be provided at 12:00 pm on June 9th and a light breakfast at 8:30 am on June 10th.

Workshop Descriptions:

Planning Your Career Development

June 10th from 9:00-11:00am

Consider where your career might take you and how to get there. This interactive workshop will guide you through a four-part process of goal setting, self-assessment, career exploration, and skill strengthening, helping you prepare your own individual career development plan.

Finding Your Path
June 9th from 12:30-4:30 pm


Learn about the four main career pathways available to chemical professionals: Higher education, industry, government, and entrepreneurial careers and why each one may or may not be the right choice for you. This workshop is not only ideal for graduate students and recent grads, but also experienced professionals who are considering a career change. In addition to learning about which types of careers are available in each pathway, you'll also learn about the job market and hiring trends to help you make your choice. The workshop allows time for you to inventory your own values, interests, background, strengths and weaknesses so that you can select which career pathway you'd like to explore in detail.


Please contact Stephen Ambrozik, sambroz1@binghamton.edu, to register.

Sponsored by the ACS Binghamton Local Section, the Binghamton University Chemistry Department and the Binghamton University Graduate Chemistry Club.


Drug discovery and development is difficult and requires knowledge, commitment, insight and perhaps an attitude best described by Winston Churchill (1874-1965)....

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm....”

A major reason for new drug candidate failure 24 years ago was lack of adequate pharmacokinetics (PK) in humans (the ability of the drug to be absorbed into the body, reach the target organ and remain there long enough to yield therapeutic effect)- 48% of new candidates failed in 1991 because of inadequate PK. Seventeen years later in 2008 this rate of attrition was reduced <1% until at present drug failure due to inadequate PK is nearly nonexistent.

This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of inexpensive and predictive in vitro PK assays now available to discovery teams in the development process. My course,
Application of Pharmacokinetics and Safety Pharmacology for Chemists in Drug Development, guides students in the optimal use of these new assays to achieve acceptable PK for new drug candidates. After attending this course students will be able to define PK/PD principles and terminology, review developments in drug discover, investigate the application of drug development principles, and much more.


This blog post was written by ACS Professional Education instructor, Terry Kenakin. Terry is currently a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill and instructs courses in pharmacology for the American Chemical Society.  Join us on June 23 for a Reddit Ask Me Anything on r/Science with Terry, who will be drawing from his 32 years of experience in industrial drug discovery to answer your questions! For more information on Terry and the courses he teaches head on over to the ACS Professional Education site.


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The unofficial start of summer is upon us, we are excited for a season of pool parties, family picnics, and vacations. While all of these things are certainly exciting, it also means we are half way through celebrating 50 years of ACS participating in the leadership development of its volunteer leaders.


In recognition of this milestone, and because of the value leadership development can add to your career at all levels, there will be a Symposium focused on business skills titled Leadership Skills as a Strategic Advantage: The Chemist’s Competitive Edge, organized by the Leadership Advisory Board and co-sponsored with Corporation Associates, the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs, and the Younger Chemists Committee. At this event, recommended by the ACS President, we will share corporate performance data, hear from senior leaders in industry, and learn from the ACS President about the value and opportunities associated with developing as a leader in whatever role you may occupy.


If you are searching for ways to gain your competitive edge in today’s challenging job climate, then consider attending this symposium on Monday, August 17th from 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm during the 250th National Meeting National Meeting and Exposition in Boston, MA. This symposium is appropriate for all chemists at all levels, from first-time industrial job seekers, to experienced academic chemists. For more information and for a schedule of the afternoon’s events please visit http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/leadership/boston-leadership-symposium -2015.html.


The job interview process is similar to a relay race. You submit your application, have a phone screen with HR, and participate in interviews with the hiring manager, team, and department heads. Making it to the final interview is like grabbing the baton and running the last leg of the race, this is where the job won or lost. No pressure, right? Relieve some of the stress of a high pressure situation by making sure that you are prepared for your final interview.


The Muse has a great article called “How to Ensure Your Final Round Interview Lands You the Job” to help prep you for the last leg of the interview process. The article discusses how you should not be afraid to brag about yourself and your accomplishments, but not be afraid to address your weaknesses. Also, it discusses the importance of asking many questions, but knowing when to bring the focus back to you. Lastly, it tells you not to be afraid to laugh and have fun, but know when to be professional. As long as you have a balance between these three juxtapositions you will be able to ace your interview. Swing on by The Muse’s site to read more. Also, be sure to take advantage of the Interview Strategy resources that the ACS Career Navigator™ has to offer.  From prep questions to video guides and a skills guide book, ACS Career Navigator™ is your key to having a competitive edge in your job search.

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